DARKE is done! At last. It’s taken a long time to write, but it’s been worth it—I hope you think so too when you get to read it.
When I began writing DARKE I knew I wanted to stay in the Castle for this book. In all the previous books people go off on a journey somewhere, often for most of the time. This, I told myself, is going to be a Castle book. Well … I nearly did it. But I couldn’t resist a small excursion—definitely not the fun, holiday kind—towards the end. But mainly this is a Castle book.
It is also of course about Jenna, Septimus and Beetle growing every nearer to what they want to be. Whenever I write a Septimus book I realise that I am slowly making good all the chaos and bad stuff that happened to everyone in MAGYK—and in FLYTE too. Well, there’s a lot of repair work in DARKE: look out for Simon, Merrin and Wolf Boy.
Now here’s a weird, slightly nerdy, thing… When I began writing MAGYK I wanted to make sure all the tide times were right (I based them on where I lived then, near Falmouth in Cornwall). Tides follow the moon, so I looked up the phases of the moon. I wanted to find a full moon on December 21st, the shortest day of the year, and I found it in 1991. So I used the phases of the Moon from then onwards throughout all the books. This meant that when I came to DARKE I thought I had a problem. I wanted to begin the book once again on the shortest day of the year—Jen and Sep’s fourteenth birthdays—but this time I wanted there to be no moon at all that night: the dark of the moon. I went back to the phases of the moon to December 21st 1995, wondering what I would find. It was the dark of the moon! Cue spooky noises…